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‘Rivers are unusually high’: BC River Forecast Centre warns of more flooding in Prince George

Uncertain rainfall in the forecast could spark overflowing of the Fraser River
Paddlewheel Park flooded - June 24, 2020 (2)
Paddlewheel Park in Prince George is flooded by rising water levels along the Fraser River in June 2020. (via Hanna Petersen, PrinceGeorgeMatters)

The BC River Forecast Centre has upgraded the Upper Fraser River through Prince George and its neighbouring tributaries to a flood warning as a result of an unexpected incoming forecast.

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement this afternoon (June 30) as Canada Day conditions are looking bleak with potential for 40 mm of rainfall by Thursday (July 2) and uncertain thunderstorms could bring in an additional 25 mm.

Water levels in the South Fort George area are currently reading 8.86m, which is considered ‘full’ and between a two- and five-year flow rate, says BC River Forecast Centre Head Dave Campbell.

“I urge the public to use extreme caution around rivers particularly over this Canada Day and into the coming weekend,” said Campbell during a news conference today.

“Obviously, people are out and about more with relaxing of travel and looking to enjoy Canada Day. Rivers are extremely high, and unusually high, for this time of year and there’s certainly to create dynamic flow; we expect riverbanks to be very unstable.”

Melting snow-packs have also contributed to floodings in the northern capital’s region in recent weeks with persistent wet weather taking place at higher elevations.

Campbell says heavy rain thundershowers are expected to bring back similar conditions to what Prince George experienced in 1972, but experts will have to wait and see what Mother Nature intends to do to the north-central region.

“While this is not a certainty that we’ll see these flows, we’re going to see the presence of that scenario and the risk of that scenario,” Campbell explained, noting what they’ll witness in the next three days will determine the weekend flooding outlook.

A flood watch has also been placed on the Fraser River for its mainstem section between Prince George and Boston Bar.

Emergency Management BC Executive Director of Operations Stan Bates says BC Wildfire Service members are on stand-by across the province in case evacuations are needed. 

As of this publication (4:45 p.m., June 30), the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George (RDFFG) has yet to issue any alerts or orders for Prince George homes.

However, the city has set up a sandbagging area for Farrell Street residents living along the Fraser River near Paddlewheel Park.

More information is available on the BC River Forecast Centre's website.


Kyle  Balzer

About the Author: Kyle Balzer

Kyle Balzer graduated with distinction from BCIT's Broadcast & Online Journalism program in 2016. Since moving to Prince George, he has covered a variety of stories from education & Indigenous relations, to community interests & sports.
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